Category Archives: Elections

Independent Expenditures: A Hidden Force in State Elections

Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics, August 1, 2007

From press release:
Political expenditures made from outside official campaigns amounted to more than $115 million in just five states, a new study found, evidence of how powerful so-called independent expenditures are becoming in state politics. Compiling a comprehensive total of such expenditures for all 50 states is virtually impossible, a companion report notes, because of inadequate reporting requirements in most states.

While 39 states require some form of disclosure for individuals or groups making these expenditures in state elections, only Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine and Washington disclose the information in a way that the public can easily access and use, the National Institute on Money in State Politics discovered.

The first report, “Independent Expenditures, 2006” investigates spending on independent expenditures in the five states where data was readily obtainable, while “Indecent Disclosure” discusses problems with obtaining meaningful data on independent expenditures from the various state disclosure agencies. Taken together, the reports reveal the extensive impact of independent expenditures on the political process and the patchwork nature of disclosure laws regulating independent expenditures in the states.

How Nonprofits Helped America Vote: 2006

Source: Kathryn Clabby, OMB Watch, August 2007

From press release:
OMB Watch today released a new report on the role of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations in elections. How Nonprofits Helped America Vote: 2006 clearly illustrates that the work of nonprofits is critical in increasing civic participation throughout the country and fostering vibrant, engaged communities. The report focuses solely on so-called 501(c)(3) organizations and does not cover the activities of special interest associations or 527 political committees.

Though 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from taking sides in elections, they are allowed educate voters, register people to vote and work to increase voter turnout. The report describes nonprofits’ electoral engagement during the 2006 election season and the groups’ preparations for upcoming elections. The publication highlights how the nonpartisan groups are defending voters’ rights against suppression and intimidation, and it includes an analysis of new voter ID requirements and attempts to limit voter registration drives. The report also describes how nonprofits are working to protect the integrity of our elections and surveys voter engagement and mobilization efforts.